by Neometro
 

126 Walsh Street: Exemplary Apartment

Architecture - by Open Journal

This article was originally published in the Robin Boyd Foundation‘s public open day program: Exemplary Apartments on Sunday 17 May 2015. 126 Walsh Street was a collaboration between Neometro, MA Architects and Carr Design Group completed in 2014.

In an area dense with apartment developments, 126 Walsh Street is formally aware of its context. The four storey, rectangular block is set back from the street with a generous landscaped entry and recessed courtyard space. But internally this apartment development is radically different from those surrounding it, containing only four flats, one per floor.

This is the largest apartment featured in the open day, with 300sqm of internal living space and 50sqm of external spaces, far bigger than the average home. This is a three bedroom suburban home, transplanted to the centre and sandwiched into an apartment form. The usual tropes of apartment design and living are gone; the plan manipulation, optimised utility, spaces borrowed and squeezed. The corridor space, usually absent, is a major element of this development.

Photo: Derek Swalwell

The project brings to mind SITE Architects ‘High-rise of Homes’ exhibition project, a famed structure with individual suburban homes slotted in between the frame, like ornaments on a shelf. But here, the idea of the suburban home is robbed of its object-ness, it is compressed and squeezed to fill the site, roof removed and unified in a singular form. It begs the question, is there a possibility within an apartment complex, especially one attempting to mediate between the suburb and the city, to articulate individual units? Can this be more house than apartment?

Photo: Derek Swalwell

The planning of this apartment is generous, with rooms strung out and along a central corridor. To the East are the bedrooms, second lounge and a study. Each bedroom gets an en-suite bathroom, each with a different finish. At the western end the corridor leads onto an extremely open living, dining and kitchen area, all linked to a cleverly screened outdoor area to the street. The kitchen, usually a tightly planned, controlled element of an apartment, is here loose and flowing. The level of finished are fine throughout, with refined commercial interior details applied. The central corridor has a bulkhead that runs the length of it, allowing the services to be contained within. This allows the air conditioning vents to be discreetly located along it, and for the ceilings to the living areas to be an exposed slab, a trademark of Neometro developments. There is no garden or communal facilities, although the corridor is wide enough to play a tempered version of backyard cricket down it.

Photo: Derek Swalwell

Neometro have a legacy of apartment building in Melbourne, consistently delivering high quality, well designed apartments for 30 years. The projects cover a wide scope of typologies, from tightly planned arrangements, to low density luxe developments, all importantly located 5km from the city centre. Through this broad and consistent output, it allows us to explore the question of why apartment living, across all typologies, and outside the city centre, is so desirable.

Photo: Derek Swalwell

Photo: Derek Swalwell

Photo: Derek Swalwell

Photo: Derek Swalwell

Text by Andrew Murray, Research Assistant, University of Melbourne

 

Search Open Journal

Filter Contents:

Subscribe to Open Journal:

Connect with Open Journal: